Taoiseach Micheál Martin will today officially open UCC's new state-of-the-art student service centre, the Hub.
Located in the heart of UCC's main campus, the historic 170-year-old Windle Medical building, previously used for training generations of doctors, has now been conserved and transformed into the Hub - a single point of contact for academic and student services, student support services, student clubs and societies.
The Hub also provides new flexible study, learning, teaching and event spaces.
The Taoiseach, who graduated from UCC in 1981, will officially open the Hub this morning before touring the facilities.
His visit will include meeting with students and staff to hear about the role of clubs and societies in UCC; meeting with staff at the Roots café which provides training and employment for people who are supported by Cope Foundation; discussing UCC’s response to Covid-19 with Dr Michael Byrne, Head of Student Health at UCC and Dr John MacSharry, UCC's Schools of Microbiology and Medicine; a visit to UCC’s student media centre and a visit to the university’s ‘calm zone’, a space designed to be a place of respite and calm for students, and in particular students on the autism spectrum.
In addition, members of Misneach, a hip hop performance group of young people from the Kabin Studio youth centre in Hollyhill, are also set to perform during Mr Martin’s visit.
UCC and the community group work together on a research and community partnership, through UBUNTU: Local is Global, a celebration of hip hop arts and culture spearheaded by UCC Professor Griff Rollefson and his EU-funded CIPHER project, which tracks the impact of hip hop music around the world.
The Hub building itself has a long history and was mentioned in James Joyce’s seminal 1916 novel,, as Joyce’s father studied in the building.
Today it extends over five floors, and UCC has named the two top floor rooms after the first female physicians to graduate from UCC – Dr Dora Allman and Dr Lucy E Smith, who both graduated in 1898.
A large multi-purpose event space, the Atrium, makes up the majority of the ground floor of the Hub; a new public space, between the Hub and the Quad, allows for outdoor events, and the old anatomy lecture theatre has been transformed into an intimate 70-seater indoor amphitheatre.
UCC President Professor John O’Halloran described the Hub as “a beating heart” of UCC’s campus.
“We are really happy to be finally officially opening this magnificent facility and are delighted that a Taoiseach who is a proud UCC graduate is to cut the ribbon on a development that enhances our student experience by bringing services together under one roof,” Prof O’Halloran commented ahead of the Taoiseach’s visit.
The Hub was designed by award-winning architects, O'Donnell+Tuomey. It is fully accessible and one of the most energy-efficient buildings on campus.